David Cook heads home to put on a show

Stephanie Boothe

David Cook proudly wears his Kansas City Chiefs hat every day.

“The producers are from L.A., and they are Raiders fans,” Cook quipped.

Cook, who will be back in Kansas City on Sept. 14 to sing the national anthem at the Kansas City Chiefs home opener, has just a few more appearances before singing with his brother Andrew at Arrowhead Stadium.

One of those stops is this weekend in Kansas City. Cook and the other nine finalists of “American Idol,” which named Cook the seventh winner back in May, will perform shows at the Sprint Center on Friday and Saturday night.

“I’m absolutely champing at the bit to come home,” Cook said in a phone interview. “It’s been a blast.”

Cook, who hails from Blue Springs, said in a questionnaire on the Idol Web site his dream performance venue would be the new Sprint Center in Kansas City.

Now with another dream realized, Cook said there is one certainty fans can expect from the shows Friday and Saturday.

“They’ll see a lot of excitement from me,” Cook said.

The tour began July 1 and ends Sept. 13 in Tulsa, where Cook moved when he left Blue Springs a few years ago.

A typical day for Cook and his friends on the road generally means the tour bus rolls into a new city early in the morning. The performers get to their hotel rooms and wake up around 10 a.m. or noon. They get ready for the day and get back on the bus to prepare for press interviews and the show.

“I remember growing up thinking I’d never do a job that was routine,” Cook said. “In some ways there is a bit of routine.”

Life on the road, with a different city every day and thousands of screaming fans, hasn’t given Cook much of a chance to process how drastically his life has changed in the last year.

He went from an audition in Omaha, Neb., to a household name in less than a year.

“The moment they announced my name it was unreal,” Cook said. “I kind of don’t want to process it. I’m kind of just taking it as it comes.”

Cook won his spot on the show by chance. He didn’t plan to audition and went to Omaha in support of his brother. In fact, an underlying story of Cook’s was that of his brother’s, who said on one episode he planned to audition again.

But Cook says fans shouldn’t expect to see Andrew’s name in the list of candidates for the upcoming season – he decided not to audition for season eight.

“He made the decision not to audition,” Cook said. “He had some of the resources to do it on his own.”

And as for singing with his brother at the Chief’s game, Cook said he wouldn’t have it any other way.

“I definitely would not be here without him,” Cook said.

Despite winning one of the top-rated talent searches by millions of votes, Cook knows where he should give thanks – his family, friends and fans back home. And by home, he means all of the Kansas City area.

“I appreciate that they have embraced me the way they have in the last year,” Cook said. “Not just the last year. I’ve been in bands since I was 15.”

One way Cook is planning to show his gratitude is by helping Blue Springs citizens unveil a special piece of art in downtown. The artwork is a mural completed by local students in tribute to the newest hometown star. The unveiling  is Friday, and organizers are optimistic Cook will be on hand for the unveiling.

Cook said he’s flattered and a little humbled by the idea that a larger-than-life mural of him will be installed in the very town he spent so much of his time.

“There are things in life that are way bigger than me and the show,” Cook said.

Still, the chance to return home and see the faces of people who have supported him for decades, is one he wouldn’t pass up.

Although, the show is scheduled for two days, Cook said it doesn’t look like he’ll have much time to visit with family and friends while he’s here. He’s scheduled for multiple stops while in town (including a tour of the Ford plant where he’ll select his Ford Escape Hybrid, just one of the many perks of being a finalist on the show), but he’s hoping to get just a few minutes to show his Idol friends his music roots.

“If I get the opportunity, I’d love to take Carly (Smithson) and Mike Johns to the Plaza and Westport and show them the places I used to play,” Cook said.

Tickets, which range from $39.50 to $68.50, are still available at www.sprintcenter.com for the shows, which both begin at 7 p.m. The show features a variety of performances from the final10 contestants of “American Idol.” The show includes group and solo performances, with the final solo performance going to Blue Springs’ own Cook.

The Examiner